Tropical Storm Gabrielle Gains Strength as Winds Lash Bermuda

Tropical Storm Gabrielle grew stronger as it began to lash Bermuda, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Gabrielle’s top sustained winds are 60 miles (97 kilometers) per hour, up from 40 mph earlier today, according to a 5 p.m. New York time advisory written by Michael Brennan, a senior hurricane specialist at the center in Miami. A tropical storm warning has been issued for Bermuda.

The system was 55 miles south of Bermuda and tropical-storm strength winds of at least 39 mph were hitting the island, Brennan wrote. The storm is expected to pass over or near Bermuda in the next few hours and it may drop 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain, the center said.

“They are going to get pretty good wind and rain tonight,” said Dan Kottlowski, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. The forecast shows the system reaching Nova Scotia by the end of the week and then crossing Newfoundland, and Kottlowski said Gabrielle may strengthen further on that path.

The current hurricane center forecast calls for Gabrielle’s winds to peak at 65 mph in the next 12 hours. The threshold for hurricane status is 74 mph.

The hurricane center is also tracking an area of disturbed weather in the northwest Caribbean that is expected to move into the Bay of Campeche off Mexico. There’s a 70 percent chance a system will form in the next five days, the center said.

Southern Mexico

“Our gut feeling is that there will be at least a depression or even a storm there by Friday night or Saturday,” Kottlowski said.

That would mean southern Mexico will be hit by heavy, tropical rains for the third time this season, he said. Some of the precipitation may reach into southern Texas.

Tropical Storm Humberto, now about 245 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands with top sustained winds of 70 mph, is expected to become the Atlantic season’s first hurricane later today, the center said. Its current forecast track takes it through the middle of the ocean far from land.

Eight tropical storms have formed in the Atlantic so far this season, which began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

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